Every month when I sit down to write my post for The Daily Feels, I try to think of something profound that I can talk about or relate something that will provide some kind of revelatory nugget to anyone who is reading.

But you know what I realized? I really am not that profound. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’m an airhead. That’s not the case. It’s just that my brain moves about ten times as fast as my mouth is able to speak. Even when I write, I edit right up until the deadline… and sometimes (like this month), I will pull things back to make additional edits.

Since I won’t be asked to give a Ted Talk anytime soon, I’ll take this time to lean into and discuss one of my more shallow and vain qualities.

People have always said that I look younger than I actually am. Part of that could have more to do with the way I carry myself, but over the last year, I have started to notice signs of aging beginning to creep in. Little lines on my forehead or crow’s feet. I had never been too worried about a skincare routine or anything like that. Along with having a daily skincare routine, I’ve now started telling everyone I just want Botox for my birthday and have threatened to host Botox parties.

How often do you see a picture that someone posts to social media and cringe? In your head, you thought you looked better than you did, or it was just an unflattering picture. Well, for a while now that is how I feel about every picture, and they are all there on Facebook and Instagram for eternity.

I’m not blaming social media. But let’s be honest: back in the day if you didn’t like a picture it was just buried at the bottom of a box or burned in a sacrificial ritual. Nowadays, you open Facebook or Instagram and find yourself staring back at you.

I’ve never really been super comfortable getting my picture taken, unless I was drunk – then I become a complete picture whore. When I sober up and look at them, my disdain returns. Filters are commonly used by people to mask little things, but what happens when you want to do a little more? Celebrities like the Kardashian clan and Beyoncé are guilty of editing their photos, so why can’t I?

Look at the pictures below and you’ll see the before and after of a few quick minutes of editing. It’s honestly the easiest way to drop 50 lbs. Beyond that, it lifts plenty of weight off of my mood by giving me something that I won’t cause me to roll my eyes in horror.

Initially, I felt bad doing this. It’s not that I am trying to deceive anyone. No, I’m doing this for myself. My goal is to not cringe when looking at my own pictures. I’m not necessarily trying to make my pictures look magazine-worthy, just subtly editing them so that I don’t feel embarrassed or awkward posting things.

We all know what they taught us back in school: It’s not what’s on the outside that counts, but inner beauty that matters. We all know that is just something that they say to make people feel better. Being a good person is important, yes; but society also puts a certain amount of importance on our outer appearance.

While watching “The Devil Wears Prada” recently, it was illustrated (in a slightly exaggerated fashion) how our appearance affects how people view us. Side note: Can we talk about how much of a douche Andie’s boyfriend is throughout the film? She should have broken up with him much earlier. Anyway, the film, at its core, shows the importance of balancing the two and ultimately being comfortable in your own skin. In the beginning, Andie uses her clothing as armor against the other characters until they give her a makeover. Once she finally realizes that she doesn’t need to constantly fight, she is able to blossom and live her best life

Since there is no magic fashion closet to help in real life, that is where photo editing software comes in. Sure, when it’s done to give someone the perfect six-pack abs or completely remove any blemishes from a person’s face, it can lead to unreal expectations. No one is perfect and I’m not trying to be – I wouldn’t even believe it if I saw a picture of myself with six-pack abs. We are talking minor renovations, not imploding the building and starting from scratch.

If it makes you feel better about yourself, then what is the harm? I say sometimes we all need to give in to our vanity if it makes us happy. In the end, it’s our life and there is enough going on the world. Taking control of what you put out into the world and making yourself feel better is the least we can all do.

Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.

Padraic Maroney hails from upstate New York, suffering from middle child syndrome.  His writing career began after moving to the Philadelphia suburbs while in high school. He wrote for The Bucks County Courier Times’ Reality section, written by local teenagers, and has the distinction of writing a weekly gossip column for a college newspaper at a school he didn’t even attend! His love of pop culture led him to intern at Teen People, where he met Janis Gaudelli, and realized he could turn being a millennial into a career. Since then he’s alternated between writing and marketing, but always focused on Millennials and everything they bring to the table. Padraic is a lover of shenanigans, 80s music, and the movie “Scream.”

You can follow his additional adventures on Instagram: @padraicjacob

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